DIY Silhouette Project for Mother’s Day

Silhouette portraits have an uncanny resemblance to the person which they are created after and make beautiful wall art of your loved ones.  They are an easy way to capture you child, pet or other family member.  This century old technique has a simple, yet classic feel and will look great in a gallery wall, grouped in a collection or individually. With a few supplies that you probably already own, you can easily create your own DIY silhouette.


These will make a beautiful personalized gift for Mother’s Day or Grandparents’ Day.


What you need:

  • camera, printer, or profile pic
  • black or dark card stock
  • white matteboard or scrapbook paper
  • scissors or exacto knife
  • pencil
  • tape
  • glue stick
  • picture frames

Choose a picture frame, background paper and dark card stock. Even though black is the traditional color for the silhouette, I chose navy blue for a more cottage style.  The background paper can be white matte board, patterned scrapbook paper, or even fabric as long as it contrasts well with the card stock.  White is traditionally used.


Take a profile picture of your child in front of a light-colored wall or window. Even a camera phone will work for this project.  It is important to capture the profile of the subject up close, including the eyelashes extended from the face.  You may want to have your subject wear the hair in a ponytail, bun or favorite hat to capture their personality.


Upload the photograph to your computer and print the size needed according to your picture frame. You may need to resize the photo, but as a rule of thumb, print the image one size smaller than the photo frame.  I printed a 5×7 photo to fit an 8×10 picture frames on regular copy paper. The print quality is not important, because you will cut out the image.

You can draw details onto the photograph with a pencil such as collared shirts, hair bows, buttons, or hats to distinguish your subject. Outline the hair to eliminate any whisps of hair that stick out.  You can decide if you want the bottom of the silhouette to be cut straight across or have a traditional curved bottom.

Place the photograph over the dark cardstock, securing with double sided tape if necessary.  Cut around your child’s profile photo. For small details, like eyelashes, cut in two inward directions so the cuts meet as opposed to cutting in one direction and turning the scissors to eliminate any small tears. Small sharp scissors or an exacto knife work best.

Trace and cut out the background paper to fit in the frame by using the glass of the frame as a template.   I used a patterned ticking stripe paper.

Center the silhouette on your background paper and adhere with a glue stick.

For the picture frames, you can use store bought frames ‘as is’ or paint them to better match your decor.  I like the oval frames for a traditional silhouette feel.  I couldn’t find any in white, so I painted some gold frames with Rust-Oleum spray paint in white and lightly distressed the edges.


Place the silhouette in your picture frame and hang!


This DIY silhouette project is easy, takes less than 30 minutes and is something anyone can do!  It is an affordable way to add wall art with a vintage feel to your home and personalize your space!



I made a few DIY silhouettes in a farmhouse style with shiplap scrapbook paper and picture frames!



The great thing about this project is that it is versatile to work in any style of decor.





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